IPI - International Press Institute

12/05/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/05/2018 09:37

Mexico’s new president urged to protect journalists

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, has urged Mexico 's newly inaugurated president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to end the impunity with which journalists are being killed in the country.

In a letter, Deputy Director Scott Griffen urged President Obrador to order law enforcement agencies to expedite investigations into the killings of journalists and to take a strong stance on the safety and protection of journalists in the country.

'We are confident that you are aware of the situation. You will also know that independent media can play a key role in your efforts to combat corruption,' Griffen said. 'Indeed, no fight against corruption and crime can be won without media that are able to report fearlessly on these issues.'

As many as 16 journalists have been killed in Mexico since the presidential election campaign began in September 2017. The latest killing came on December 2, the day of the inauguration, when Jesús Márquez Jiménez was shot dead by unidentified gunmen. In 2016, 11 journalists were killed; in 2017, the number increased to 14. In all of these cases available evidence suggests that the journalists were targeted for their work. In no case have the killers been brought to justice.

IPI Special Representative for Journalist Safety John Daniszewski, vice president of the Associated Press, said: 'Year after year, the shameful murder of journalists continues in Mexico. Aside from the immense tragedy for the journalists and their colleagues and loved ones, this violence has a chilling effect on newsgathering and information in the country. IPI calls on Mexico's new administration to turn the page on this plague and prioritize steps to create safe conditions for journalists and for all Mexicans to live and work.'

See the full text of the letter below.

His Excellency Andrés Manuel López Obrador
President
United Mexican States

December 4, 2018

Your Excellency Mr López Obrador,

On behalf the members of International Press Institute, a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for media freedom, I would like to extend our congratulations to you upon your inauguration as president of Mexico.

Your victory signifies that Mexican citizens voted for a change and have instilled their faith in you. They believe that you can deliver on your promise of fighting corruption and political malaise, eradicating poverty, and upholding human rights.

We would like to take this opportunity to highlight the fact that Mexico has become an extremely dangerous place for journalists to work. As many as 16 journalists have been killed since the presidential election campaign began in September 2017. In 2016 some 11 journalists were killed, in 2017 the number increased to 14. In all of these cases available evidence suggests that the journalists were targeted for their work. In no case have the killers been brought to justice.

The impunity with which journalists are being slaughtered makes Mexico one of the worst places for media professionals to work in the world.

We are confident that you are aware of the situation. You will also know that independent media can play a key role in your efforts to combat corruption. Indeed, no fight against corruption and crime can be won without media that are able to report fearlessly on these issues.

We believe that you can make a big difference by ordering the law enforcement agencies to expedite investigation in the killings of journalists and take a strong public stance on safety and protection of journalists in the country.

Your excellency, we trust that you have the power to make this change in Mexico, where journalists have been killed with impunity for far too long.

Founded in 1950, IPI is a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists dedicated to furthering and safeguarding press freedom, promoting the free flow of news and information, and improving the practices of journalism. For more than six decades, IPI has carried out press freedom missions to countries where the press is under threat by both state and non-state actors.

List of journalists killed in Mexico since September 2017

1. Jesus Marquez Jimenez, December 1, 2018
2. Gabriel Soriano, October 24, 2018
3. Mario Gomez, September 21, 2018
4. Garcia Gonzalez, August 2, 2018
5. Rubén Pat Cahuich, July 24, 2018
6. Luis Pérez García July 10, 2018
7. Alicia Diaz Gonzalez on May 25, 2018
8. Carlos Domínguez Rodríguez on January 13, 2018
9. Hector Gonzalez Antonio on May 29, 2018
10. Juan Carlos Huerta on May 15, 2018
11. José Guadalupe Chan Dzib on June 29, 2018
12. Leobardo Vazques Atzin on March 21, 2018
13. Pedro Damián Gómez found dead on February 13, 2018
14. Edgar Daniel Esqueda Castro on October 6, 2017
15. Gumaro Pérez Aguilando on December 19, 2017
16. Juan Carlos Hernández Ríos on September 5, 2017

We thank you for your attention to this important matter.

With sincere regards,

Scott Griffen
Deputy Director
International Press Institute